The Catarratto grape is (yet another) one of those Italian varieties that few people have heard of unless they live or spend time in the regions they are featured. Even in Sicily it went largely under-appreciated until the last part of the 20th century when the wines of Mount Etna earned recognition. Like the red wines, the Catarratto based white wines most sought after come from older vineyards and often with an increasingly steep price tag due to the limited sources. This makes it hard for the novice customer to dip their toes in and see if this is a grape that fits their palate. Thankfully the growers on the island are increasing their planting, and importers are becoming increasingly able to source better values like this for consumers to test drive. Valdiabella is a unique cooperative of organic family farms near Palermo that pool their resources for several products, including this very reasonable lineup of wines featuring native Sicilian varieties.
A rich golden straw color in the glass, the aromas at first have a bit of the baked apple you may find in some unoaked Chardonnays, but picks up more crisp green citrus and herbal tints as it opens up. There isn't the driving minerality on the nose that comes from the volcanic soils around Mount Etna, more warmth and softness, but still very distinct and inviting. On the palate the texture is also warm and apple-y, with a touch of melon rind and green apple skin to the finish that brings out the fresher flavors, and with successive mouthfulls it gets more zesty and mouthwatering. A tasty introduction to this Sicilian variety and an ideal pairing to fish and poultry dishes with big herbal flavors.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!